Fr. Frank Pavone serves as national president of Priests for Life, and earlier this month, he appeared on the podcast Rules for Retrogrades. At one point, Pavone was asked by podcast co-host Dave Gordon, “When are we going to get, in your opinion, one of those big and resounding biblical type victories.” His answer?
“November 4, 2020.”
Pavone went on to predict that if pro-life candidates make substantial gains in the House and Senate, then “we will see just in the next year what can be described as biblical proportion victories.”
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“There is absolutely no question about it,” he continued. “This is simple arithmetic. This is a simple analysis of the trajectory we are on.”
Naturally, that also hinges on the re-election of President Trump, someone for whom Pavone offered a clear assessment. When host Tim Gordon asked if Trump is the most pro-life figure “in the history of the presidency,” the priest didn’t hesitate to agree.
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“Yes,” Pavone replied. “The answer is definitely yes.” He went on to characterize Trump’s record on pro-life issues as “a long list of accomplishments,” and he wasn’t exaggerating.
One of President Trump’s first acts was to reinstate and expand the Mexico City Policy, an executive order that prohibits using American aid dollars to pay for abortion. President George W. Bush signed a similar order order, but where as his only affected $500 million in funding, Trump’s cover $8.8 billion.
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Next came the repeal of an Obama-era rule barring states from denying federal family planning funds to groups that offer abortion. Vice President Mike Pence cast a tie-breaking vote in the Senate to reverse the measure.
That was followed in 2019 by Trump going after Planned Parenthood’s Title X funding. Money received under Title X accounted for 15 percent of the abortion chain’s budget.
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The decision was challenged in federal court, with the administration prevailing. That demonstrates the importance of judicial appointments, something Trump has been making plenty of: by last December, one in four federal circuit court judges was a Trump appointee.
And just this year, the administration challenged a California law requiring insurers to cover abortion. “If states receive federal funds from HHS and other agencies, they cannot discriminate against health plans that decline to cover or pay for abortions,” Office of Civil Rights director Roger Severino said in February.
But this election isn't just about what's happened over the last four years; it's also about what's to come. As Pavone pointed out, "We could be within striking distance of a very strong pro-life majority on the Supreme Court."
Indeed, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is 86 years old while Justice Stephen Brier turns 81 this summer; the chances that either one or both will retire over the next four years seems all but certain.
"This is not just a campaign, it's a movement," Fr. Pavone said as he quoted the president. "He wasn't a politician, and that's one of the reasons he got elected. His forward, get it done attitude is putting past administrations and politicians in a bad light because he's shaming them."
Hopefully pro-lifers will help him keep doing that.
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